The Thing About Jellyfish

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This week’s book to review, The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, is a best-seller that’s won critical acclaim and starred-reviews. What makes this middle grade novel so special? It’s a great mix of STEM, with jellyfish facts and other useful science facts, but it also tells a great story and may even help a reader deal with grief.


Emma stopped by the blog to talk about it. She’s 8-years-old and enjoys gymnastics, reading and hanging out with friends. When she gets older, she hopes to be a wild-animal vet, specializing in sloths. To the left, she’s dressed for career day. Here’s what she had to say about this story.


Q: What is this book about?

A: This book is about a girl named Suzy. Her friend, Franny, died while swimming. Suzy is sad and wants to figure out what really happened.


Q: What was the best part about this book? 
A: The best part of the book was when Sarah, a new friend, asked if Suzy wanted to come over.


Q: What part of this book made you smile? 
A: When she tried to fly to Australia and she used her dad’s credit card to buy plane tickets. As I read this, I thought oh no, this is not going to work. Also, I smiled when Justin kept on trying to be her friend and communicate with her. He could tell that she really needed a friend, and he needed a friend, too.jellyfish


Q: What part of the book surprised you most?

A: That she used her dad’s credit card to buy a ticket to Australia. She got so close but didn’t make it. I was also surprised by all that research and planning she did, but it did not go the way she expected in the end.


Q: What part of the book worried or concerned you?

A: When she was sneaking around and her parents didn’t know about her trip to Australia. She stopped talking to everyone. Also, when she stole money from her whole family.


Q: What did you learn from reading this book?

A: I learned a LOT of facts about Jellyfish.


Q: List three words that best describe this book.

A: Tense, Grief, Relief.


Q: What was your favorite line or phrase from the book?

A: “Maybe instead of feeling like a mote of dust, we can remember that all the creatures on this earth are made from stardust. And we are the only ones who get to know it. That’s the thing about jellyfish: They’ll never understand that. All they can do is drift along unaware.” (I liked knowing how the book got its name.)


Q: Who else should read this book AND why?

A: Everyone! Especially the people who are dealing with the loss of a friend or family member.



(NOTE: The book features Irukandji jellyfish facts. Take a look at them, compared to the tip of a matchstick.)


Do you know young scientists who love learning about animals? If so, please check out the following kits from the Hub’s inventory:

* PSS’s Animal Classification
* PSS’s Insectigations
* EiE’s Water, Water Everywhere
* EiE’s Invasive Species

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